A while back, I wrote an article detailing why I thought Aliens games worked out so well. While chatting with Rebellion about the upcoming Aliens vs. Predator, I asked project lead Tim Jones why he felt that Aliens was one of the most successful licensed game franchises out there.
“I think it is largely due to the fact that Aliens games have usually been developed without being tied to the release date of a particular movie,” he explained. “Licensed videogame tie-ins often suffer from having truncated development schedules: they tend to get green-lit after a movie has already been through pre-production but have to be completed months in advance of the actual movie release — so they can be on the shelves and benefit from the same marketing spend that the movie gets.
“They have frequently been treated as just another piece of merchandising — like a t-shirt or a happy meal. Fortunately, as the industry matures that is beginning to change, and game development isn’t always playing second-fiddle to the movie any more.”
With that in mind, I made sure to point out that the other half of AvP — the Predator — has had far less success in the field of videogames. Jones kindly explains why:
“Aliens make great enemies in Alien games — and you can have hundreds of them. However, you can’t treat the Predator as the standard ‘grunt’ enemy: He has to be a ‘boss’ character, and that kind of limits how much you can use him. On the other hand, he has a very compelling set of abilities and exotic equipment that make him an ideal computer game ‘hero’ … trouble is, the Predator is essentially a murderous serial-killing hunter of humans. And there aren’t many games where you get to play a bad-guy like that. I guess he’s had a hard time finding his niche — until now!”
I personally think it’s that Aliens are blatantly better than Predators, but each is entitled to his own opinion.